BMW engineers are working on turning the i3 into an “electricity dispenser”. This seems to be their way of saying BMW’s electric vehicle will become capable of bi-directional charging. While not said, this may precede V2G functions too, eventually.
The press release does not go into detail but accompanies a video dubbed “A glimpse into the future.” It revolves around a stressed businessman turned artisan cheese maker in the Alps, off-grid living in short. Down in the valley, his BMW i3 serves him to power his cheese stall.
While this may seem a little too “alternative”, the actual functionality of electric vehicles powering equipment or, dispensing electricity back to the grid is grounded in reality of course. Particularly carmakers of disaster-prone Japan such as Nissan have been looking into the possibilities of electric car batteries as mobile energy storage units. Mitsubishi and Hitachi have been given the green light for a V2G trial as well reportedly. While Nissan has extended their initiatives beyond Japan and into Europe, also local startups such as Sono Motors see their vehicles as more than just a car.
In case of the BMW i3, vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-home applications are not likely to be added yet, mainly due to its smaller battery. Still, the statement reads: “The BMW i3 carries much electricity on board; often even more than what is needed for driving. This video shows what could be done with it. The BMW i engineers are working on it..”
BMW has yet to disclose any technical details or timelines. There have been rumours on an upcoming battery upgrade for the i3 lately though. They say BMW has been preparing intensively to introduce a 120 Ah battery by the end of 2018 or, early 2019. The NEDC range for the new battery would give the i3 a range of 350 km – and maybe some new functions as well.
Until then, you can get a glimpse of the vision in the video below.